By Allen White
Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:33-37
We live in a world of disbelief. There was a day when a handshake was as good as gold. Today, the handshake comes after a lot of paperwork and notarized signatures. The fear is that the signer will attempt to get out of the agreement. Even good people are treated like bad ones.
We can’t do much about the litigiousness of our world, but we can choose how we conduct ourselves. We don’t need to make extravagant promises. We just need to keep our word.
A trustworthy person is the one you know will always come through. If he said he’d be there, he’ll be there. If he said he’d take care of it, you trust that it’s taken care of. If an emergency comes up, he’ll let you know why he’s delayed. This is the person you can count on. His “yes” is all you need.
Now, before you forward this post to someone who is less than trustworthy, how trustworthy are you? Do you follow through when other people are counting on you? Do you make promises that you never intend on keeping? Do people have to think twice before they ask you? Have they stopped asking?
Deceitful people have muddied the path for honest people. The solution is not to clean up the deceitful people. The solution is to tell the truth. You don’t need eloquence or carefully chosen words. You just need old fashioned honesty.
You don’t need to be bigger than who you are. You just need to honestly be you. You don’t need to promise more than you can deliver. You just need to deliver what you promised. If you’re not sure that you can come through, then the word you use is “no.”
To be honest with others, you have to be honest with yourself. If you’re heart says “no,” but your mouth says “yes,” then you’re being dishonest with yourself. “Do you want to go clothes shopping at the mall?” About as much as she wants to sit in a deer stand for 12 hours. If you’re heart’s not in it, your “yes” will hurt far more than your “no.”
When are you tempted to over-commit knowing that you can’t follow through? Do people think of you as an honest person? Do you follow through? If you need to work on this: promise less and follow through more. That’s the cure.
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